Kashmir: Farooq Abdullah suggests 'dialogue' as ceasefire violations force people to relocate

The border tension between India and Pakistan is refusing to de-escalate as soldiers continue to trade fire across the de-facto borders in Jammu and Kashmir. On Tuesday, Pakistani troops allegedly resorted to unprovoked firing on the Line of Control (LoC) killing one more Indian army soldier in Naushera sector of Rajouri district, Kashmir. 11 Indian soldiers have been killed on the borders since India's surgical strikes on 29 September.

Lieutenant colonel Manish Mehta, a defence spokesperson, said that a soldier was killed but army retaliated in equal measure to the unprovoked ceasefire violation by Pakistan in Naushera sector. “They are using 82 mm mortars and automatic weapons,” Mehta said.

File image of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah. Reuters

File image of former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah. Reuters

India and Pakistan solders often accuse each other of violating the 2003 ceasefire agreement that had brought the much needed respite to the residents living along the volatile border between the two countries.

Since India announced its surgical strikes, the borders have continuously witnessed heavy exchange of fire. This sudden escalation in cross-border firing means displacement of thousands of residents of Jammu and Kashmir. The approaching winter is only adding to the miseries of the border residents.

More than 110 ceasefire violations have been reported from region in last forty days. This huge escalation has led to a crisis in the state for the residents and the number of cross-border firing incidents is only increasing with each passing day.

On 6 November, two soldiers were killed and five others injured when Pakistani rangers opened fire in an attempt to facilitate the two infiltration bids along the LoC in Krishna Ghati and Poonch sectors.

Former Chief Minister of Kashmir and National Confrence president Farooq Abdullah told Firstpost that continued firing between the two armies has wrought havoc in the lives of the border residents of Jammu. He said that the time has come "when both the nations should take immediate steps" to engage in dialogue for the sake of lakhs of people living not just in Jammu and Kashmir, but also for those living on the other side of the border.

“This madness should immediately be stopped,” Abdullah said referring to the increasing number of ceasefire violations across the LoC and the international border.

“Just two days back, two soldiers were killed. Do you think mothers are ready to receive the coffins of the dead sons?” he asked.

“I pray that both the nations engage in meaningful dialogue to end the hostilities,” he said. Adding that shelling for the past few weeks has generated "fear psychosis" among border dwellers, he said that it has resulted in their dislocation from their villages.

On 1 November, eight people, including two children, were killed when Pakistani soldiers pounded frontier villages and army posts with mortar shells and heavy machine gun fire. This was the highest number of casualties in one day in a span of thirteen years.

At least 20 people, including children, have been killed in more than a fortnight since Pakistan started pounding border villages with mortar shells and heavy machine gun fire.

Updated Date: Nov 09, 2016 10:46 AM

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